On Saturday the weather was lovely and sunny, and we decided to take a drive down to Skagway in Alaska the next day. Unfortunately it was raining on Sunday morning, and as we set off from home it looked like the weather was set in for the day. Emerald Lake, pictured below, must look lovely in the sun.
As we crossed the pass, heading down to the US border, there wasn’t much of a view at all as we were just below cloud base. From what I could see it looked as if it would be very spectacular on a nice day. By the time we entered Alaska, we were completely enveloped in damp whiteness.
At the US border we all presented passports, and my Australian one stood out like a sore thumb among the other three Canadian ones. Sure enough I was asked to park up and come in to the interview room. My previous US visa had expired by a week, and as my I-94 card hadn’t been handed in, I was in trouble! I was told that next time I had to surrender my card if I was not planning to return and then exit from the States before its 90 day period expired. Eventually I was issued with a new card. Phew!
Skagway is a very picturesque little place, and is a tourist stopoff for the cruise ships heading up and down the Alaska coast. There was one ship in, and a few tourists trawled around the shops in the rain. The season comes to an end very soon, and the huge souvenir and t-shirt shop was having a big “50% off” sale. We all stocked up, and for fifty bucks I got two warm coats and a new t-shirt. Bargain!
We were hoping to see bears, as it is almost time for the salmon run to start up the river, and the bears apparently come out fishing in large numbers. Moe thinks we may have been a week or two early, as there wasn’t a bear to be seen anywhere.
In the end we took a walk to the very atmospheric woodland cemetery which was the final resting place for around seventy people who had died in an avalanche on the Chilkoot Trail on April 3rd 1898, and walked through the woods at the abandoned Dyea townsite. Dyea had boomed and then bust over a period of a couple of years during the height of the goldrush, and the forest has almost completely hidden all but the last few remains of the once large thriving town.
More on Dyea and the Slide cemetery here:-
We planned to camp overnight, but over a delicious fish and chips supper an executive decision was made, despite some semi-enthusiastic opposition from the kids, to return home, as the rain had hardly let up all day.